Characteristics of Sleep Disturbance in Patients with Long COVID: A Retrospective Observational Study in Japan

Naruhiko Sunada, Yasuhiro Nakano, Yuki Otsuka, Kazuki Tokumasu, Hiroyuki Honda, Yasue Sakurada, Yui Matsuda, Toru Hasegawa, Daisuke Omura, Kanako Ochi, Hideharu Hagiya, Keigo Ueda, Hitomi Kataoka, Fumio Otsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the clinical and endocrinological features of sleep disturbance in patients with long COVID. Methods: This study was a single-center retrospective observational study for patients who visited the COVID-19 aftercare outpatient clinic (CAC) established in Okayama University Hospital in Japan during the period from 15 February 2021 to 29 July 2022. The long COVID patients were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of sleep disturbance, and the clinical and laboratory characteristics of the patients were analyzed. Results: Out of 363 patients with long COVID, after excluding 6 patients, 60 patients (16.5%) (55% males, median age of 38 years) complaining of sleep disturbance were compared with 303 patients (83.5%) (43% males, median age of 40 years) without sleep-related symptoms. Although there were no significant differences in clinical backgrounds and severities of COVID-19 between the two groups by the multivariate analysis, the percentage of long COVID patients with sleep disturbance was significantly increased among patients infected in the Omicron-dominant phase. In addition, the prevalence rate of sleep disturbance in patients when infected in the Omicron phase (24.8%) was two-times higher than that in patients infected in the Delta phase (12.8%). Of note, the percentages of patients with sleep disturbance who also complained of general fatigue, headache, concentration loss, anxiety, low-grade fever, and brain fog symptoms were higher than the percentages of patients without sleep disturbance who had the same complaints. Among the types of sleep disturbance, the percentage of patients who complained of loss of sleep induction (75%) was much higher than the percentage of patients with early-awakening sleep disturbance (6.7%), and many of the patients with mid-awakening types of insomnia had brain fog symptoms. Endocrine examinations revealed that long COVID patients with sleep disturbance had significantly higher levels of plasma adrenocorticotropin and lower levels of serum growth hormone, suggesting the presence of hypothalamic–pituitary stress. Conclusion: The prevalence of sleep disturbance has been increasing in long COVID patients infected in the Omicron phase with a certain clinical and endocrine trend.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7332
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Omicron variant
  • chronic fatigue
  • insomnia
  • long COVID
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • post COVID-19 condition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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